Aliens in the Promised Land: Why Minority Leadership Is Overlooked in White Christian Churches and Institutions by Anthony B. Bradley
(P&R Publishing, 2013, 256 pages)
North American evangelicalism remains predominantly white in terms of demographics. However, the numerical growth of evangelicalism has shifted to the Global South, transforming the global ethnic makeup of the movement. Anthony Bradley and the other contributors to this volume address the various ways that minority leadership in evangelical circles is underdeveloped, overlooked, or simply ignored. The chapters come from black, Hispanic, and Asian scholars who Bradley gathers to “describe their own experience as minorities and leaders in evangelical circles and to suggest ways to make real progress toward racial diversity” (14).
Each of the chapters combine a discussion of the contributor’s personal experience with a scholarly treatment of racial issues in areas like church planting, theological education, and theological publishing. Also included as an appendix is a statement on “Racism and the Church,” from the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Bradley commends this as a good example of evangelicals dealing honestly with the racism of the tradition’s past. Bradley himself contributes a General Introduction and an Afterward. He talks with remarkable frankness about the racism that he has experienced in evangelical circles, and he lays out what he perceives to be the long-term consequences of ignoring such issues.
Bradley’s analysis and experience were the main attractions of this volume for me. However, I also found the chapters “Race and Racialization in a Post-Racialization in a Post-Racist Evangelicalism: A View from Asian America,” by Amos Yong and “Ethnic Scarcity in Evangelical Theology: Where Are the Authors?” by Vincent Bacote to be very helpful. This is an important book, as much for the conversations it could start as for the discussions within it. If North American evangelicals want to be part of the growth of evangelical churches and institutions in the rest of the world, the issues this book deals with must be more prominently addressed.